5 Barriers Sabotaging Your Recovery After an Injury
A few months ago, I sustained an injury while working out that caused me to take a hiatus in my fairly intense training schedule. I had a consistent routine of working out 5-6 days a week doing a mixture of high intensity interval training, weight lifting, and cardio. On my off days I would allow my body one day of complete rest and one (sometimes two) days of prolonged stretching sessions. I was seeing amazing results in my energy, physique, and mental health. To be completely honest, I felt unstoppable…
I was injured.
It was very difficult for me to accept my injury at first. I was in denial because I was so worried about letting my body rest and falling out of my routine. You see, I have been very inactive for much of my life. Physical activity and sports never came naturally to me. Until about 3 years ago, I was completely stagnant. Then a series of events in my life changed for the better and I found myself deeply committed to my routine, and I never looked back. That is, until I was out of commission. I allowed my body the time it needed to recover completely until I returned to exercising. However, during the first few weeks of my comeback, I found that there were multiple roadblocks in my way that were impairing a successful return. These roadblocks were both physical and mental, and I believe that many of you may struggle with them in your recovery stages as well. These must be addressed head on in order for you to be more victorious on your path to recovery.
- The all-or-nothing attitude. Sometimes after an injury, it’s difficult to ascertain our body’s needs and we may rush back into our routines much too quickly. This is dangerous for many reasons, but mostly because you are risking further injury. It’s important to slow down and truly assess your current capabilities in order to understand where you should begin when returning to exercise. Most often, after an injury you will not be returning to the same level of training you were at before, and you may find yourself frustrated and discouraged. Try to keep in mind that exercise is not all or nothing. Don’t allow yourself to become frustrated with your current state and completely give up. Remember that recovery takes time, patience, and effort. You will want to start slowly and mindfully. Eat a healthy diet, engage in rehabilitation exercises, and allow yourself the natural transition back into a regular routine.
- Refusing help. If you’re an athlete or someone who trains regularly and this is your first injury, it can be difficult to accept that you may need assistance in your recovery. Whether it is with braces, sleeves, or wraps, your body might require an extra form of support to assist in your training. Utilizing these types of support does not make you weak or inferior. A brace, sleeve, or wrap can help you continue to exercise despite a recent injury, and can even prevent further complications. For instance, rather than being out of commission for minor knee pain, you have the option of incorporating a knee brace into your training in order to safely engage in lower body exercises such as squats and lunges that can be hard on the knees. For functionality during exercise, try to find a brace that offers a high amount of support while still allowing a full range of movement.
- Fear of failure. One of the biggest obstacles that may be sabotaging your recovery is the fear of failure. This is not something that only affects people when recovering from an injury, but can be a hindrance to succeeding in many other avenues as well. However, it can be especially detrimental during your recovery period because you may have internationalized the distorted belief that you have already failed as a result of your injury. First, it’s important to acknowledge that your injury is in no way a form of failure. You are human and your body is only capable of so much; injuries are sometimes inevitable. Second, you should not let your fear hold you back from achieving your goals. Address your fear, figure out the best way to overcome it, and move on. Some techniques to overcome your fear are taking it slow, tracking your recovery, and consulting with your doctor on the best steps to returning to exercise.
- Not finding alternative exercises. When you’ve been training for a while, you may be accustomed to your old routine and it can be challenging to find new exercises to engage in. After an injury, you might be reluctant to find alternative exercises that are more appropriate for recovery purposes. However, there are many different training options that can serve as a temporary replacement for previous exercises during your recovery. For example, if you are suffering from knee pain, biking, swimming, and light stretching are all excellent, low-impact options. Or, if you have an upper body injury, try focusing on lower body exercises in the meantime.
- Forgetting aboutrehabilitation. Rehabilitation is the most obvious, yet most often ignored avenue to recovery. When you sustain an injury, your body requires the proper care to heal and prevent further damage, so it imperative that you not overlook this process. Rehabilitation can come in many forms such as functional activities, stretching, braces and wraps, activity specific exercises and training, and physical therapy. The method used for rehabilitation is completely dependent on the specific individual’s circumstance and can vary widely from person to person. Oftentimes, if the injury is minor and does not require heavy rehabilitation, braces and specific exercises are the most common approach. Exercising with suspension straps is an excellent example of an avenue to recovery. The straps allow the user complete customization to adjust to specific needs and the use of body weight encourages a gradual process of intensity. A variety of exercises can be performed with the straps as support to encourage a quicker and safer recovery.
*This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services. This content only seeks to provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided here is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should always seek the advice of your physician or medical professional before engaging in any exercise plan.